TRIORA

quite simply

A PLACE

Triora is a charming medieval village located in the province of Imperia on the Western side of the Ligurian Riviera. It is perched on a hill at an altitude of about 800m above sea level in the magnificent Argentina Valley. Although its population counts just over 200 people, it has an extensive territory including many interesting hamlets. The mountainous terrain surrounding Triora was once farmed but is now home to luxuriant woods and unique landscapes. The name Triora originates from the Latin “Tria-ora” and refers to Cerberus the three-headed dog from Greek mythology. Since the mid 1500s it has become known as “The Village of the Witches” due to its tragic past. However, Triora is not only about the Witch Trials. The interesting history of the village is merely an incentive to visit and discover the wonders of a PLACE which along with its people, its traditions and culture is quite unique.

THE ARGENTINA VALLEY

a magical valley...

The Argentina Valley extends to the foot of Mount Saccarello which at 2201m is the highest point in Liguria and is part of the Ligurian Alps. The mountains form an administrative border between the provinces of Imperia and Cuneo and a State border between Italy and France. The Argentina Valley is considered by many to be a remarkable and enchanted place.

DISCOVER ITS PAST

to appreciate its modern appeal

ITS ORIGINS

The oldest archaeological artefacts testifying to human activity around Triora date back to the Neolithic age, between the year 3800 and 3000 BC. In those days, Northern Italy was the epicentre of the so-called “Culture of the Square-Mouthed vases”

CONTINUA A LEGGERE

TRIORA A BORDER

between reality and mystery, the understandable and the inexplicable, the sacred and the profane

A SURROUNDING WALL

encloses history, cobbled lanes and fragments of an ancient civilization..

Saint Bernard's Church

with Judgement and Passion, art becomes history

The building dates back to the beginning of the XV century and dedicated to St. Bernard who in those days roamed the roads of Italy and Liguria preaching the gospel. Inside the church precious 15th century frescoes by various artists including Giovanni Canavesio from Pinerolo depict the seven deadly sins with the Last Judgement and the Passion of the Christ as background themes along with hell and the vault of heaven. Moreover you can admire scenes from the life of Christ and his Crucifixion as well as the limbo and St. Christopher.

WHAT IS A NATURAL PARK?

THE REGIONAL PARK OF THE LIGURIAN ALPS

UNSPOILED NATURAL RESOURCES SHELTERED FROM HUMAN ACTIVITY

The Regional Park of the Ligurian Alps, the westernmost conservation area in Liguria is situated in the Province of Imperia, wedged between the French border and the lower Piedmont region. Its 6000 hectares are distributed along three valleys: The Nervia valley, the upper Argentina valley and the upper Arroscia Valley. The Nervia valley which includes the municipalities of Rocchetta Nervina and Pigna, is reachable from either Bordighera or Ventimiglia. This protected area is the closest to the sea and it extends among flower plantations, olive groves and vineyards. Heading north, these crops give way to chestnut, conifers and beech woods.  The upper Argentina valley includes the Triora municipality and is accessible from Arma di Taggia. It presents the greatest variance in altitude in the whole park along with wild natural landscapes and ancient villages built on mountain ridges or rocky spurs. The final and innermost protected area is the upper Arroscia valley including the municipalities of Rezzo, Montegrosso Pian Latte, Mendatica and Cosio d’Arroscia. Accessible from Imperia, this is the most mountainous area of the park, identifiable by sections dedicated to wide pastures and extended woodlands.

Through walking paths or secondary and gravel roads you can move from one valley to the other. Many old reinstated ridge paths offer magnificent 360° views of the Ligurian Alps and the sea. About 2000m variance in elevation separates the coastal to the mountainous regions of the conservation area. The highest point is Mount Saccarello which with its 2200m is also the highest peak in the whole of Liguria.

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OLD TRADITIONS AND LOCAL HISTORY LIVE ON IN OUR SMALL HAMLETS

  • Creppo

    FRAZIONI

  • Bregalla

    FRAZIONI

  • Cetta

    FRAZIONI

  • Goina

    FRAZIONI

  • Realdo

    FRAZIONI

  • Verdeggia

    FRAZIONI

  • Monesi

    FRAZIONI

  • Loreto

    FRAZIONI

TREKKING ED ESCURSIONI NATURALISTICHE

alcuni consigli su percorsi e sentieri che partono o passano da Triora.

FROM TRIORA TO GOINA AS FAR AS PASSO DELLA GUARDIA by Angela Rossignoli

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MOUNT SACCARELLO - MOUNT FRONTE' VIA PASSO DELLA GUARDIA by Piervittorio

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FROM COLLE MELOSA TO THE MARTA BALCONIES by Fonte

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THE OLD VIA MARENCA FROM COLLE D'OGGIA TO MOUNT MONEGA by Piervittorio

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THE REGIONAL ETHNIC AND WITCHCRAFT MUSEUM

The Triora Museum is not just a mere exhibition of old everyday objects but above all it is an invitation, an incentive to visit the ancient village, experience its characteristics, enjoy strolling around its breathtaking hamlets and small suburbs where on occasion one might still be able to encounter the usage of some of the utensils already spotted in the museum’s many rooms. Surrounded by such unspoiled nature you will be able to rediscover a zest for “real” life.

Silvano Oddo (museum curator) Website www.museoditriora.it

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Ethnography

Divided into six main rooms, the Ethnic section of the museum represents scenes from farmers’ daily lives, their work in the fields, the various steps of wheat, milk, chestnuts and wine production as well as examples of traditional local cuisine.

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Luigia Margherita Brassetti

Margherita was a wealthy lady much loved by the people of Triora due to the charity work and monetary donations she imparted to the impoverished locals. She launched a series of intense social and religious activities for local women by founding female congregations. She founded a needlework and embroidery workshop, and opened a theatre with a small cinematograph for young ladies, while along with other congregations she took care of the preparation and restoration of the church’ sacred garments.

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Time stands still

The museum is a place where time seems frozen in a bygone era where everything has been faithfully reproduced according to historical facts and the details of local life and culture.

Old utensils.. for old professions

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Witchcraft

Four gloomy rooms are dedicated to a tragic chapter in our local history. Two of these room house scenes taken from the interrogation and imprisonment of the accused women. The other rooms besides displaying old trial documents also host life-size reproductions of local “witches” in their daily activities.

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Torture

I clench my teeth….but they will say I am smiling

Franchetta Borelli

NO FIRE INVOLVED..BUT A TRAGIC STORY DRAMATICALLY TRUE

The legacy of Franchetta Borelli

by Paolo Portone

The story is well documented: in 1588 a group of women from Triora were accused of what at the time was considered the most heinous of crimes, namely to be followers of the heretical sect of diabolic witches. That is how Franchetta Borelli and other accused local women were subjected first to the Inquisitor then to Commissioner Giulio Scribani. They were found guilty of being Satan’s worshippers.

According to the judges they had renounced their bodies and souls to the Devil (of Christian religion) in exchange for his evil powers. Although they were not burnt to death, their fate was marked forever. Today, through scrupulous archival research conducted on ancient documents we have finally uncovered new elements which allow us to retrace one of the most notorious witchcraft trials that took place in our country. A sequence of events that profoundly marked the relationship between the Holy Office and the Republic of Genoa and at the same time permanently established the Church of Rome’s new position towards folkloric “superstitions” and their custodians providers of traditional magic, whom under the various titles of herb healers, midwives and faith healers played a significant role in the safeguarding of health and well-being within their communities, especially among the lower classes.

The biggest heed taken by the Inquisition in evil witchcraft trials involved a change in the strategies used to counteract superstitions; these were eventually no longer fought but mostly absorbed as orthodoxy. This fact allowed the spread of that particular condition known as hunt-free demonopathy which characterized Italy during the age of the great persecutions of the 1500-1600 in Europe. While maintaining a severe stance in their fight against demonology, ecclesiastic authorities ended up substituting burning at the stake with holy water exorcisms. As a matter of fact, it is not by chance that Triora still celebrates a curious religious ceremony in order to ward off caterpillar invasions, a ritual deeply ingrained in that magic mentality which on paper was meant to be eradicated but instead, at the end of the Counter-Reformation resulted in it being absorbed and in fact amplified within a religiousness inspired by a sense of the supernatural, by the cult of relics (Triora hosts an enviable array of holy relics, even odd ones such as the Virgin Mary’s milk), of sacred images and by the use of sacramentals (holy water, oil, salt, candles and incense). It remains unclear whether behind the apparent confessionalization of society and through the abandonment of its witchcraft accusations the Church wanted to maintain its spiritual hegemony, coming to terms with folkloristic religiousness and with those profound beliefs (the vane rites) that were part of Franchetta and the other victim’s cultural world. Those who tried, against the tide and the times, such as Giulio Scribani, to eradicate them appealed to a tradition preceding the Counter-reform when the Church came out victorious against Cathar and Waldensian heretics. Thereafter they started to look at rural superstitions with different eyes giving a juridical and theological shape to that new heresy called diabolic witchcraft which had been fought for over three centuries. It is questionable whether the witch hunt in Italy ended in Triora but it is certain that Scribani thought its end was untimely. In a letter to his seniors he claimed it necessary to conduct an inquisition, the likes of which hadn’t been seen for over a century in this area, against evil women referring to an important preceding phenomenon of which there were only traces left in human memory. From these events we have just a few remaining references, the most famous of which is the fresco in the Saint Bernard Church dating back to the end of the 1400s. The fresco depicts “witches” wearing a miter who burn in an infernal furnace along with “Gazari” heretics. This illustrates how early witch hunting took place in this area, considering the role this Franciscan monk had in the spread of this new threat and the active part he took in the instruction of the first two trials against two women Finicella (Rome 1426) and Matteuccia (Todi 1428) both of whom were burnt at the stake for being in collusion with the Devil.

In the year 1588, Triora just like the rest of Italian society had progressed from burning witches at the stake as much larger threats loomed over the Church of Rome. Soon those painful events would be hushed while the older beliefs and superstitious rites would be absorbed into the prevailing religion and survive to the 1900s a many oral sources gathered by local historians can testify to. From that perspective, we could say something has survived from Franchetta’s world, besides our recollection of her as a victim of religious fanaticism. However, we must not look for her legacy in the modern day stereotypical images of Triora’s witches as these paradoxically distance us even further from the memory of the trials’ victims, thus inappropriately handing them a posthumous “damnatio memoriae” (literally “condemnation of memory” meaning that a person should not be remembered). “Surprisingly” evidence of that world that Scribani wanted to eradicate completely can to this day still be found within the official religion. Beyond the layers of widespread devotion and inherited faith you can catch a glimpse of it woven between ancient traditions and words deriving from a more modern religion. This reveals that, centuries later, the various shapes of the ancestral magic originated from the “common social phenomenon” of which Franchetta and the other unfortunate ladies were a result of, can be placed on the same level of importance as their persecutors.

After a long period of hard work and commitment

MES opens to the public in October 2016

Ethnohistoric Museum of Witchcraft

Why did Triora establish a museum on witchery and the witch hunt? Between late Medieval times and the Age of Enlightenment, in the heart of Western Europe there were about 110 thousand trials held against the followers of satanic sects all conducted by religious and secular tribunals. According to cautious estimations, these trials resulted in the death of almost 60 thousand people, mainly women, whom were identified as guilty of a crime which was impossible to demonstrate and yet they were sentenced to death. As innocent victims of the first holocaust in European history these victims remind us of how fanaticism and obscurantism are not alien to us, on the contrary they are a relevant part of our past; they remind us of how the poisonous seeds of intolerance and prejudice had pervaded institutions and religion, resulting in enormous injustices. The present-day image of the diabolic witch is a concept that saw its birth in religious and secular tribunals, a concept outlined in demonology manuals and validated through the victims’ forced confessions obtained after torture. To this day the victims’ memory is still tarnished by the atrocious seal imposed by their merciless judges: they were accused of being witches, murderers of children, sorceresses, tempest makers, Satan slaves and therefore apostates, idolatrous and heretics. From those murders few records remain, not only in their numbers but also in the recollection of what actually happened as inquisitors destroyed almost all the documented evidence over a period of three centuries. The destruction, initially aimed at the annihilation of a myth was later avoided in part thanks to a pre-scientific urgency of classification intended at interpreting and mystifying the most archaic traditions of the European cultural heritage. However, the interest initially shown by historiography never lasted over time and never gave a proper direction to studies and research. In the remaining literature available today studies have brought forward new and significant information about the victims’ world, their cultural environment,  though their biographies are rare. Today we certainly know a great deal more about the persecutors (judges, inquisitors, demonologists, preachers, Catholics and Protestants). We have a deep knowledge of the mechanisms that regulated justice in cases of diabolic witchcraft, of the measures taken by the clergy through councils and synods to oppose popular superstitions etc. However we continue to learn about the victims through the unappealing filter of diabolic witchcraft. Therefore, the aim and the challenge of this museum is to document the realm and enhance the memory of the witch hunt victims. For the first time, through historical and ethnographic evidence, we try to reconstruct the cultural profile of those who were forced onto the Satan slave’s Procrustean bed. The items displayed have the objective to accompany visitors on a journey into the underlying reality of one of the most popular mythical figures of the European collective imagination. In order to achieve this we follow an itinerary divided into four main themes (“The Magic Thought”, “Goddesses, Spirits and Female Creatures”, “Dominae Herbarum (mistress of the herbs)”, “The Invention of the Demonic Witch and the Triora Trial”) allowing academics and curious visitors to compare ideas with finds deriving from a world closer to their historic reality. At the end of this journey, the victims will possibly regain some of their dignity by re-establishing the connection between the person, their name, their occupation and what they represented in European society between the middle ages and modern times. Giving back a more personal and human profile to the thousands of women sentenced without any proper evidence or fair trial means to at least compensate their remembrance and to establish the real reasons for a persecution conducted with rational determination against a nonexistent enemy. It means gaining a new remembrance out of which we all come transformed and knowledgeable, just like the bonae feminae following in Diana’s footsteps.

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Things to do

In Triora you can..

  • we write

    in Triora we

  • we walk

    in Triora we

  • we take pictures

    in Triora we

  • we produce

    in Triora we

  • we pray

    in Triora we

  • we fish

    in Triora we

  • we cycle

    in Triora we

  • we create

    in Triora we

  • we climb

    in Triora we

  • Going down the river

    in Triora we

AVAILABILITY

Some were born in Triora, others moved here and are passionate about the village

Endorsements

FRIENDS

ACCOGLIENZA E SHOPPING A TRIORA

numerose attività sono presenti a Triora pronte ad accogliervi con gentilezza e simpatia

BED AND BREAKFAST

A B&B situated in a medieval tower right in the middle of the village.

Tended with love and care, this charming B&B is owned by Barbara and Giacomo.

A welcoming B&B managed by Marco. It has wonderful views over the valley.

Giancarlo, a local expert on farming culture looks forward to welcoming you to his B&B.

RESTAURANTS

Carla and Gianni look forward to welcoming you to their authentic Osteria (a traditional inn), where they serve mouth-watering typical local cuisine, accompanied by exquisite wines.

Trattoria Loreto

A Trattoria (traditional restaurant) serving local cuisine located on the famous Loreto Bridge.

In the small hamlet of Verdeggia, Ornella e Lara’s restaurant offers typical cuisine of the upper Argentina valley.

Ilaria runs this small trattoria located in the tiny hamlet of Realdo with passion and warmth. On offer are traditional dishes from the Upper Argentina Valley

BARS

I Vecchi Ricordi

A meeting point for coffee and aperitif. This bar hosts DJ sets, birthday parties and is lots of fun.

i Tuvi

Situated in the small and charming “Square of the Witch”, this place serves aperitif, bruschette and tastings of local foods. A place not to be missed.

Ricici

Jessica truly spoils her customers with wonderful breakfasts featuring home made cakes, fruit yogurts and much more. Located in a charming corner of the main church square.

Cocò cafè

Ramona recently opened a delightful café in the village Square. She awaits you with fanciful meal choices in one of the most suggestive and visited places in Triora,

SHOPPING

This is the only bakery in Triora which produces the renowned round bread, one of the most famous in the whole of Italy. Its dough is made with Type I flour left to rise and baked over bran flakes. This bakery also produces great grissini (bread sticks) and their own celebrated brand of biscuits.

Laura and Augusto have run this lovely food store for years. They select, produce and sell local products like jams, sweets, sauces, cheeses and many other delicacies.

Asplanato Claudio

A historical retail store selling household goods, electronic appliances and wood or pellet stoves. Here you can find almost everything you may need.

U Masaghin

The Borelli family runs this grocery store where one can also find tobaccoes and newspapers.

Il Sarvan della Cabotina

Giuliano produces handcrafted terracotta sculptures.

Alpine Guide Fabien Artero

Right in the heart of Triora’s historical centre, Fabien put together a space of his own as info and booking office for professional guided tours to those who decide to try the thrills of canyoning, rock climbing or mountain hiking.

L’Edera di Triora

Barbara welcomes you to her magic corner where you can find all sorts of gadgets and souvenirs.

La Bottega di Mai

Deborah assembled a little corner of delicacies with cheerfulness and tasteful decor then filled it up with personally selected products from Valle Argentina

Annamaria Hairdresser's

This hairdressing shop is much appreciated by locals and visitors.

Non Solo Magia

Lilia, one of the may witches found in Triora trades magical objects and more.

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Contact

Find us on

Address

Triora-C.so Italia, 7 – 18010 (IM)

Phone

+39 0184 94 049

E-mail

info@trioradascoprire.it